Friday, December 3, 2010

BloggerLand Rules (a la Zombieland) - Revising @ATPE Tech Traps to Avoid

“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a lion or gazelle - when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.” (Completely Irrelevant quote, unrelated to this blog entry)

You know you've watched too many zombie movies when you read an email from a teachers' union and find yourself revising it to match how to survive in Zombieland....
Zombieland is a 2009 American zombie comedy film directed by Ruben Fleischer from a screenplay written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. The film stars Jesse EisenbergWoody HarrelsonEmma Stone, and Abigail Breslin as survivors of a zombie apocalypse. Together they take an extended road trip in an attempt to find a sanctuary free from zombies.
A running gag, and a central theme throughout the film, is the list of rules Columbus comes up with for surviving in the zombie-infested world. By the end of the film, his list has thirty-three rules; only some of them are mentioned. 
What if we were to take the guidelines and give them a Zombieland (watch a clip via Hulu) twist? Occasionally, my wife receives updates from ATPE. Most of the time, they are helpful. Today, though, I couldn't help but pause in shock and ask, "Are you for real, ATPE?" Blogging makes your list of must-not do activities?

In ZombieLand movie, the rules were simple and you followed them to survive. Couldn't ATPE have come up with something like rules to live by that made sense?

Consider this email teaser of a longer document, where I have to take exception about their implied statement that educators that keep blogs are suddenly engaging in illicit actions...makes me want to take Dr. Scott McLeod to task for his list on blogging encouragements.
Your students are plugging in daily to a variety of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. You and your colleagues might even have profiles on these websites or maintain blogs.
Everyone knows the dangers children and teenagers encounter from revealing too much information online. What hasn't been so widely reported are the pitfalls educators face from personal and student use of social networking and blogging sites.
Find out more about these and other technological pitfalls and what you can do to avoid them at

Source: Education TechNews Tech-Wizards or Tech-Zombies?

(gasp) Maintain blogs? Facebook? Twitter? Oh My!

A tongue-in-cheek revision of ATPE's legalese:

  1. ERASE YOUR TRACKS - Using a District computer? Then make sure you a) Erase your tracks or if you lack access, b) Use your own computer. Failing those 2 options, avoid technology unless you have approval in triplicate from your principal/supervisor. 
  2. GET YOUR OWN RIDE - Use your own Internet connection, not the District's!
  3. DO NOTHING ILLEGAL OR INAPPROPRIATE - Planning to download your favorite song, movie, game, violate copyright? Then don't do it using District equipment (e.g. computer, external USB hard drives, flash drives) unless you adhere to Rule #1 and Rule #2.
  4. REMEMBER THE WORLD IS WATCHING - What you do is under observation. Remember that whether you are on the new VOIP phone system, sending email, tweeting/facebooking at any time.
  5. PRIVACY IS AN ILLUSION - There is no privacy--you are who you are wherever and whenever you are online and that should be professional and in line with cultural norms. If you're going to swim against the current, make sure you do so within the bounds of propriety. If you can't handle that, you're in the wrong career field.
Now, HOW do you accomplish these rules? Hmm...let's quickly go through these:

Take advantage of tools like Bleachbit, Eraser, CCleaner that do a great job cleaning out your computer from personal stuff. Use WipeTools on GNU/Linux (a series of scripts that use DD). More information here. Also, really, learn how to secure your confidential information.

A lot of tech directors are pulling their hair out turning their existing network equipment into scanners for  folks who are finding ways around the network. As Lori Gracey (TCEA) points out in this presentation, districts aren't responsible for children and adults who find their own way to the Internet. But how do you do that? Several ways - 1) Tether Your Android Phone; 2) Clear Mobile Wireless; 3) PCMCIA Wireless Access/Mobile Broadband card from T-MobileAT&T, Sprint, and other providers.

Well, not much to say about this one. If you want to avoid illegal software, etc., why not embrace GNU/Linux solutions like UbuntuLinux? You can do quite a bit, if not all, of what you need to use a computer for using UbuntuLinux. That won't save your from the "inappropriate" side of the house, but that's up to you as an adult.

The world is always watching, whether you are or downloading content or posting content on Flickr, Picasaweb, YouTube, etc. Don't post anything you wouldn't want to see on the evening news, go viral on YouTube or whatever. 

If you do anything online--and even if you don't--your information is being spread to the world. I'm always surprised at all the great pictures there are of me on the web that I didn't post...and, isn't that the way it should be? The issue isn't to avoid publicity, but to do things worthy of being shared in whatever area you decide to map out. In the meantime, manage your online identity, know if that app you just installed on your phone is broadcasting your location or not.

And, finally, ATPE, please, wake up! There are thousands of educators blogging who find it rewarding, educationally appropriate...and many of them follow the rules that any ethical educator will follow. Your email to schools and districts--which I quoted at the start of this blog entry--sends the WRONG message. I challenge you to partner with Dr. Scott McLeod and others who encourage reflective blogging!

We need more effective technology leaders. We need them in formal leadership positions like principal and superintendent rather than informal, often powerless positions like media specialist or technology coordinator. We need them now.
As David Warlick has noted here and here, we are failing to prepare our nation’s students for their technology-suffused futures. Principals and superintendents have ceded the field to technology companies and students, and our schools are increasingly at risk of being dangerously (and ludicrously) irrelevant to the future in which our children will live.
[the] nurturant parent family...assumes that the world is basically good and can be made better and that one must work toward that. Children are born good; parents can make them better. Nurturing involves empathy, and the responsibility to take care of oneself and others for whom we are responsible. 
The strict father model, assumes that the world is dangerous and difficult and that children are born bad and must be made good. The strict father is the moral authority who supports and defends the family, tells his wife what to do, and teaches his kids right from wrong. The only way to do that is through painful discipline - physical punishment that by adulthood will become internal discipline. The good people are the disciplined people. Once grown, the self-reliant, disciplined children are on their own. Those children who remain dependent (who were spoiled, overly willful, or recalcitrant) should be forced to undergo further discipline or be cut free with no support to face the discipline of the outside world.
Our kids, our teachers aren't zombies. Let's stop treating them as if they were. To use the social networking tools, you have to develop discipline, engage in dialogue with others. If we fail to accomplish that with our children, they may very well turn into what we are trying to prevent them from becoming.

You guys want some Purell?

(this blog entry was too much fun!)

Zombieland Rules -

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

1 comment:

Chris Patrick said...

I think alot of people have the wrong idea of internet advantages and disadvantages. There may be a small number of students and faculty that may abuse the privilage of internet usage but what about the countless others that put these privilages to use in continueing to enhance their knowledge. I think this post is right on for ATPE.

The Courage to Lead